A rezoning request that has pitted an Albany developer against residents on Old Dawson Road who complained the proposed $15 million residential development would cause traffic snarls has been rejected by the Albany City Commission. After a close vote garnered the rezoning request a positive recommendation from the Planning Commission, the City Commission voted 6-0-1 Tuesday to deny it.
ALBANY, Ga. — The Albany City Commission, following an extended and often heated public hearing, voted Tuesday to deny a rezoning request by a local developer that would have allowed him to build 92 housing units on property at 3101 Old Dawson Road.
The vote came shortly before 8:30 p.m., with six of the seven-member commission voting to deny the rezoning. Commissioner Bob Langstaff abstained from voting on the issue.
A number of residents who live off or near Old Dawson argued that developer Danny Blackshear's rezoning request, which would clear the way for a $15 million development that would include 20 single-family residences in a gated community, 32 townhouse units and a 40-unit apartment complex, would diminish their property values and increase traffic snarls on an already-busy thoroughfare.
"Please help us protect our homes," Linda Taylor, who lives adjacent to the property, said.
St. Andrews resident Bud Grecco added: "If you had to drive that mess daily ... you, Mr. Langstaff and Mr. Blackshear, would not allow this mess in your neighborhood."
The City Commission had tabled a vote on Blackshear's request, which had been approved conditionally in a 5-4 vote by the Albany-Dougherty Planning Commission at its March business meeting.
Blackshear provided updated traffic count figures before the meeting that showed only a small section of Old Dawson, from Pointe North Boulevard west to Colonial Drive, surpassed maximum Department of Transportation average vehicle counts along Old Dawson.
The Planning Commission had recommended approval of the rezoning request on the condition that Blackshear provide a second entrance/exit onto Pointe North, which would cut down on the heavy early-morning and late-afternoon traffic along Old Dawson. The developer had asked that the condition not be a part of the proposal because of the additional cost.
"With the cost of the property, if I'm required to build that second entry/exit (from the gated single-family homes) I would have to renogotiate with the owner to make the project feasible," Blackshear said. "The margin of this project is very thin."
Tax records show that the current value of the 25-acre tract is $225,400. Blackshear said at the commission meeting that, if developed, the property would bring in around $250,000 a year in tax revenue. It currently accounts for slightly more than $2,500 in taxes.
Also at the meeting, the commission voted to approve Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax VI funding for a pedestrian bridge across South Slappey Boulevard near Albany Technical College and finalized requirements on an ordinance that officially makes the city's Water, Gas & Light Commission a department of the city.